This is the season of summits. It took European leaders several summits to hammer out a rescue package for the euro; then there was the G-20, the new ring of global power. Then President Obama hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Community meeting in Hawaii, where he was born and raised, and then attended the East Asia Summit in Indonesia, where he lived.
The symbolic value of such meetings is often overrated. But they offer an opportunity to take stock of the changes that have quietly reshaped the landscape of world power. They show how much the center of gravity of the world economy has shifted to the east, to Asia, and to what extent this has tilted the overall balance of power.… Seguir leyendo »
“Demography is destiny,” Auguste Comte is reported to have said. Today, his maxim appears to encapsulate the fate of a number of the world’s richest countries. Indeed, the United Nations Population Division’s recently released biennial World Population Prospectssheds new light on the debate – ongoing for over a decade – about the consequences of low fertility rates in many developed countries. And while the UN figures do not provide evidence that proves the grimmest forecasts of doomsayers, nor do they leave much room for optimism.
Demography allows for a much greater level of certainty than does economics. The women liable to give birth within a generation are already among us.… Seguir leyendo »
Slow but steady contraction in the north, vigorous and sustained expansion in Africa; seven billion of us by October this year, eight billion sometime around 2025. The latest United Nations population figures provide a dramatic glimpse of how the demographic map of the planet is being reshaped.
For the latest revision of its biennial “World Population Prospects,” the U.N. Population Division has extended its forecasts by 50 years, to 2100. Long-term forecasts must be taken with a grain of salt — they “have no operational role,” as the French demographer Hervé Le Bras has written; they just help “staging and exaggerating today’s fears.”
Still, the margins of error allow for a fairly reliable picture of the world’s population in the decades to come.… Seguir leyendo »
La “Revolución del Jazmín” de Túnez aún no ha concluido, pero ya podemos ver las enseñanzas sobre la democracia y la democratización que de ella se desprenden y que se extienden hasta muy lejos del Magreb.
Para poner en perspectiva histórica la Revolución del Jazmín, debemos recordar el 4 de junio de 1989, aquel domingo decisivo en el que los polacos expulsaron a los comunistas del poder con sus votos y, en el otro extremo de Eurasia, el Partido Comunista de China aplastó un incipiente movimiento democrático en la plaza de Tiananmen. Retrospectivamente, aquel día parece una encrucijada en el camino de la historia humana.… Seguir leyendo »